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codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/9/23 6:02 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

I've got dollar figures on this stuff.  Local track events are $350 per day and out of town is $550 per day. I am on the low end of the budget as far as vintage racers go.  I do know some of the guys running SCCA National events are spending $1300 per day.  

Aside from entry fees (which vary a lot by track), the biggest cost in time trial events on race tracks is going to be tires.  If you're running something like NASA TT, the rules are set up in a way that the fastest cars are going to be the ones using a sticker set of Hoosier R7s every weekend.  Yes you can run without doing that, but you're not likely to win against the guys who are.

 

dps214
dps214 SuperDork
3/9/23 6:18 p.m.
Racebrick said:
dps214 said:
Racebrick said:

TT doesn't cost $1000 a day.  Trying to beat people in TT can be costly, but showing up and running a car isn't.

In total cost? It absolutely does unless you're doing it with the absolute cheapest to own and operate car possible. But in that case a day of autocross is cheaper than the quoted price too.

 The other thing is that TT and autocross are competitive events. If you're just interested in "showing up and running a car" that's fine, go do a track day. But that's not a direct alternative if you're looking for competition.

I must be doing it wrong then.

For a normal scca TT I'd be at $850 before even leaving the house, and that's not even including lodging. I guess that's technically for 2-3 actual days, but one event. A true single day event if those even exist I could see only being like $7-800.

A cheaper car that doesn't need to be insured and is lighter on tires would be cheaper, yes. But it would also be basically free to autocross it.

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
3/9/23 6:21 p.m.

Motorsports can be as expensive as you want it, but no matter what, at the pointy end, it will cost you a lot. You can just show up and have fun but I don't see the point of competing if you're not going to do your best. In that case, I'd rather do things non-competitive. I mostly started off doing track then road racing and while it was good fun, I know for a fact it will be less commital and more convenient to autocross, even at the "pointy" end of things. Right now though, I'm not a good autocrosser (midfield perpetually) so I'm just driving an STR Prepped NB Miata (which is not competitive) to get my skills up and hopefully land a co-drive in the future.

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
3/9/23 6:27 p.m.

Does anyone happen to know what the lottery numbers are going to be tonight?

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/9/23 7:47 p.m.
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) said:

Does anyone happen to know what the lottery numbers are going to be tonight?

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
3/9/23 9:48 p.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Tom1200 said:

I've got dollar figures on this stuff.  Local track events are $350 per day and out of town is $550 per day. I am on the low end of the budget as far as vintage racers go.  I do know some of the guys running SCCA National events are spending $1300 per day.  

Aside from entry fees (which vary a lot by track), the biggest cost in time trial events on race tracks is going to be tires.  If you're running something like NASA TT, the rules are set up in a way that the fastest cars are going to be the ones using a sticker set of Hoosier R7s every weekend.  Yes you can run without doing that, but you're not likely to win against the guys who are.

 

The Hoosiers on the Datsun are $900 a set and will do 14 heat cycles. T he Hoosiers for the F500 are $1200 a set and will do 14 heat cycles before dropping off. 

That's effectively 2 1/2 race weekends or $200 to $250 a day for tires.

The same set of tires will do 16 autocrosses which comes out to $75 a day for the F500.

 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/9/23 10:31 p.m.

This has been an interesting discussion, drifting from access to venues to distances to events to comparative costs.
 

In only five years of autocross, I have seen multiple venues lost to the sport. I have been committed to getting to as many events as possible, so I consider any drive closer than two hours each way to be convenient. 
 

As for relative costs of autocross vs HPDE, time trial, etc, I would only be able to afford from one to maybe a few events a year at most if autocross wasn't available. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/10/23 1:17 a.m.
Tom1200 said:

The Hoosiers on the Datsun are $900 a set and will do 14 heat cycles. T he Hoosiers for the F500 are $1200 a set and will do 14 heat cycles before dropping off. 

I'm guessing those are Hoosier slicks, right?  Most of the NASA TT classes require DOT tires, and the R7 (Hoosier's DOT tire) doesn't give anything like that kind of lifetime.  You get 3, maybe 4 competitive heat cycles, with another 5 or 6 that are useful for practice.  By swapping them around a lot you can put those 4 cycles into the sessions with the best conditions and use last event's tires for the others, so it basically works out to 1 set per weekend.  Price depends on size, but anywhere from $300 to $500 per tire.

I did a few events in TT4 on the way to getting my competition license and going racing.  TT doesn't really hold my interest.

badair
badair New Reader
3/10/23 1:31 a.m.

The sport seems alive and well around Chicago. Too many clubs to count within a 2.5 hour drive. No shortage of venues or drivers or nats trophies. I'm not interested in other motorsports because autocross is the perfect competition/cost ratio for me.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
3/10/23 12:58 p.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Tom1200 said:

The Hoosiers on the Datsun are $900 a set and will do 14 heat cycles. T he Hoosiers for the F500 are $1200 a set and will do 14 heat cycles before dropping off. 

I'm guessing those are Hoosier slicks, right?  Most of the NASA TT classes require DOT tires, and the R7 (Hoosier's DOT tire) doesn't give anything like that kind of lifetime.  You get 3, maybe 4 competitive heat cycles, with another 5 or 6 that are useful for practice.  By swapping them around a lot you can put those 4 cycles into the sessions with the best conditions and use last event's tires for the others, so it basically works out to 1 set per weekend.  Price depends on size, but anywhere from $300 to $500 per tire.

I did a few events in TT4 on the way to getting my competition license and going racing.  TT doesn't really hold my interest.

Hoosier slicks on the F500.  They will do two weekends competitively (12 cycles) but then drop off steeply after a couple more.

I use Hoosier TDRs on the Datsun; they are a bias ply tire and will do 12-14 heat cycles before dropping off.  On the Datsun the tires become track day tires after the second race weekend.  If you are careful with them you could probably get 15 heat cycles but then you'd still have to put new tires on for Sunday.

The key to them is scrubbing them in properly; that doubles the tire life.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/10/23 1:24 p.m.

Any kind of cost/benefit analysis pales in comparison to sitting at home occasionally having a bowl of thin oatmeal for sustenance.

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/10/23 1:28 p.m.
bludroptop said:

 The cars are bigger and faster too, requiring more room. 

Cars are not fast, courses are fast.  If the cars are going too fast, that is a course design issue.  

 

Alternatively, if the cars are faster, the courses need to be smaller to keep speeds safe, so parking lots can actually be smaller now...

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
3/10/23 3:05 p.m.

I really don't get the "if I can't win everytime I won't waste my time" attitude. That's not really the grass roots mentality. 

ojannen
ojannen HalfDork
3/10/23 3:22 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

If the goal is competition while driving a car and you can't afford a $1500 weekend for a time trial (and you want to turn right too), 3 minutes of seat time at an autocross is the next cheapest thing.

If the goal is to have fun and drive fast, autocross and time trials are both terrible deals.

Without some element of competition, I get bored quickly.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
3/10/23 3:28 p.m.

In reply to ojannen :

I don't get it though. There are classes with slower cars designed to not break the bank. Where tires and brakes last seasons, fuel and other consumables are nill. Why does it always have to be some ridiculously fast car that eats itself every weekend?

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
3/10/23 3:30 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Any kind of cost/benefit analysis pales in comparison to sitting at home occasionally having a bowl of thin oatmeal for sustenance.

 

When we built the Datsun I couldn't afford to do all the work at once so autocross was a great way to enjoy competing in the car.  

Tom1200
Tom1200 UberDork
3/10/23 3:32 p.m.
ojannen said:

Without some element of competition, I get bored quickly.

This is one of the best aspects of autocross; you get to have a bit of fun and compete at the same time. 

dps214
dps214 SuperDork
3/10/23 3:46 p.m.
bobzilla said:

In reply to ojannen :

I don't get it though. There are classes with slower cars designed to not break the bank. Where tires and brakes last seasons, fuel and other consumables are nill. Why does it always have to be some ridiculously fast car that eats itself every weekend?

Well then I have to add in the expense of owning and maintaining a car specifically for that purpose. Which I'm pretty sure blows any of the other costs for a car that I already have and want to use out of the water.

ojannen
ojannen HalfDork
3/10/23 4:01 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

Show me the class.  I want a car at a prep level where if I finish off the podium, it is my fault for driving poorly.  I described a 6 event budget a few pages ago at around $7500.  I am 6'5" and 300lbs so I don't fit in the really tiny stuff.  What do you have in mind that comes in under $1K per event?

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/10/23 4:08 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Any kind of cost/benefit analysis pales in comparison to sitting at home occasionally having a bowl of thin oatmeal for sustenance.

Amen, brother. If life is too short to drive boring cars, then having an exciting car that does nothing but go back and forth to the supermarket is kind of a waste, too. Autocross is a relatively cheap way to spend the day playing with cars with your friends.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
3/10/23 4:14 p.m.

In reply to ojannen :

Sundae Cup. top 5-10 cars are usually within a second on a 2 minute course. Limited prep, very minimal consumables (I could have run last years pads but it's only $150 for a new set). Run the entire weekend on the same 9 gallon tank of gas. One set of $500 tires last all season. 

 

trucke
trucke SuperDork
3/10/23 4:33 p.m.

I'm fortunate that my oldest daughter is co-driving with me.  Her younger sister is always with us.  The younger one has more seat time that anyone even though she does not have a drivers license.  She has her own helmet and seems to be able to get rides from almost everybody.

As mentioned earlier, we lost an event site near the Asheville Airport.  That was 5 miles from my house.  Now everything is 2 or 3 hours away.  There are 3 sites within 2 hours and a few more within 3 hours.  

With 38 seasons of autocross behind me, I'm enjoying the best autocross season ever with my girls!

kb58
kb58 UltraDork
3/10/23 4:34 p.m.

If you go to an event (of any type) and see participants - but few spectators, to me it's an indication that it's not an activity that'll be supported by the community. If 99.9% of the community has zero interest, when an owner of a potential site is contacted, it'll be unlikely that they're interested, so there'll be very little chance that they'll support it. Worse, autocross being what it is, the chances of someone going on their head is not zero, so adding the liability only makes it worse. Then there's loud cars causing complains, another thing the property owner has no desire to deal with. Property owners end up with zero reasons to support it, and several to not.

I was fortunate enough to run at Jack Murphy stadium in San Diego back in the 1980s, and it was awesome. It was a huge parking lot - pre-berms, bumpstops, and grass islands, and fast cars could get about 100mph. Then the trolley went in, removing about 30% of the useable area, which reducing interest by the faster car owners. Then there were a few other changes "nibbling away at the cookie", with the available space getting smaller and smaller. Then of course, the entire stadium shut down and is gone. The next closest venue is either Lake Elsinore or AutoClub Speedway, both much further away for me.

The above, and a couple other things reduced my interest in both autocross and trackdays. In the 1980-90s, many people ran older very used sports cars and did much or all of the work themselves. People were very knowledgeable about their cars and between events, it was common to see competitors helping each other out. Things gradually changed, and now that aspect seems to have faded, with people instead seemingly buying something new that's very fast and more reliable, with no need to work on it. Plus, they're more complicated cars now, so owners are less likely to get their hands dirty. That's fine, but has the side effect that the social aspect of the events have faded some, with there no longer being as much reason to interact with others. As others have mentioned, it also seems like the events are going "up market", where it's more common to see trailers, when before, true grassroots cars were driven to events.

Lastly, many here commented about the costs of the activity. Even though I worked and paid my way through college, I was still able to attend autocross events and had a great time. I think when I started, the entry fee was around $20, and maybe there was yearly membership, but I don't remember it being terribly expensive. The last one I went to required joining SCCA and the entry fee was around $45. Given that I wasn't going to run more than a few events, I turned around and went home. I realize everyone's story is different, but that's my take on it.

ojannen
ojannen HalfDork
3/10/23 4:36 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

I wish we had Grid Life this far south.  I have toyed with the idea of running B-Spec locally.  I don't know if I can afford the body damage.  It is the next step up from karts for well funded teenagers in Florida.  They suffer no consequences for writing off cars.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
3/10/23 4:50 p.m.

In reply to ojannen :

SCCA T5 in the same car is still pretty fun too. That's where the Rio slots. 

I've always been odd in that I like to take cars to do things that no one thinks they can do. Forte to Solo Nats in STF. Car had no business being as good as it was. Rio for Sundae cup and One Lap. I've done others as well but the point is while I'm never competing for a podium or jacket, I'm having fun doing it in something so off the wall that when it doesn't suck everyone (myself included) is shocked and people have fun with it. You know how many times I got to hear people in what should be faster cars get told by their buddies "dude you got beat by a 4 door Kia."

 

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